A Magazine for the George Mason University Community

Recognizing Extraordinary Students

By Mason Spirit contributor on April 13, 2010


Bette Burch, BSN ’80, poses with 2009-10 scholarship recipient Augusto Paredes-Ubillus, who received funds from an endowment Burch created, and CHHS Dean Shirley Travis, right. Photo by Laura Sikes

More than 100 guests celebrated scholarship giving at a special reception held at Mason on March 31. The annual reception provided an opportunity for donors to meet the students who benefit from their gifts and for students to thank donors for their generosity.

One student, nursing major Augusto Paredes-Ubillus, spoke to guests about receiving the Bette Burch Scholarship Endowment within the College of Health and Human Services (CHHS). Paredes-Ubillus told the crowd that his first purchase with his scholarship funds was a stethoscope, an essential tool for his degree program. He credits the scholarship with putting him closer to his goal of becoming a community health nurse.

Among the donors were Mason President Alan Merten and his wife, Sally. The Mertens endowed the Eric G. and Melissa H. Merten Endowed Scholarship for CHHS students, which nursing student Mouftaou Meatchi received this academic year.

During the event, Ted Arnn, BS Law Enforcement ’93 and president of the Alumni Association, and Tennille Parker, BA Government and Politics ’97 and president-elect, presented four students with 2010 Alumni Association Scholarship Awards. Recipients were

  • Lindsey Smith, graphic design major (expected graduation 2011) for the Peter C. Forame Student Leadership Scholarship;
  • Mirella Saldaña-Moreno, global affairs major (expected graduation 2013) for the Wood Undergraduate Scholarship;
  • Krystin Schleh, master’s in education program (expected graduation 2011) for the Wood Graduate Scholarship; and
  • Abby Byrom, music major with concentration in music education (expected graduation 2011) for the George Mason University Alumni Association Service Scholarship Award.

Lindsey Smith
Peter C. Forame Student Leadership Scholarship

Peter C. Forame Student Leadership Scholarship recipient Lindsey Smith with Tennille Parker and Ted Arnn of the Alumni Association. Photo by Laura Sikes

The Peter C. Forame Student Leader Scholarship was endowed by friends and classmates of First Lieutenant Peter C. Forame after he died in action during the Vietnam War. It is awarded annually to a full-time undergraduate or graduate student who demonstrates a commitment to service within the university community while maintaining an exemplary academic record.

Smith, a junior in the graphic design program, led an effort last year to revitalize the George Mason University Student Group of the American Institute of Graphic Arts. When the club was in danger of losing its affiliation with the national association because of low student participation, Smith used her public relations background to develop a plan to attract new membership and build the group’s professional network. The group now provides design services for campus offices, organizations, and events. At the end of February, the group held a district-wide design event that attracted 30 professional designers and more than 60 design students from around the region. Smith was recently asked to lead a workshop for the AIGA-DC professional chapter on how to make student groups thrive. She maintains a 4.0 grade point average.

Mirella Saldaña-Moreno
John C. and Louise P. Wood Undergraduate Scholarship

Wood Undergraduate Scholarship recipient Mirella Saldana-Moreno with Tennille Parker and Ted Arnn.

The John C. and Louise P. Wood Undergraduate Scholarship was established in 1975 by the late John C. Wood and his wife, Louise. Mr. Wood served as the mayor of Fairfax from 1952 to 1963 and was the first rector of the George Mason University Board of Visitors. The scholarship is awarded annually to a full-time undergraduate student who has completed 30 credit hours at George Mason University, demonstrates unusual motivation and ability in the pursuit of education, and contributes to the greater good of George Mason and/or the community at large.

Saldaña-Moreno, a freshman majoring in global affairs, wrote in her scholarship application essay that she represents the “many teenagers who experience and overcome obstacles while in search of the ‘American Dream.’” A native of Peru, she did not qualify for in-state tuition rates because of her immigration status and has struggled to find the necessary financial aid to afford a Mason education. Saldaña-Moreno has become an activist as a result and now serves as president for the newly formed campus group, United for Social Justice, which advocates for higher education access for immigrant students. She also volunteers to tutor and mentor students in Mason’s Early Identification Program. She maintains a 3.88 GPA.

Krystin Schleh
John C. and Louise P. Wood Graduate Scholarship

Wood Graduate Scholarship recipient Krystin Schleh with Tenille Parker and Ted Arnn. Photo by Laura Sikes

The Wood Graduate Scholarship is awarded to a full-time graduate student who has completed at least three credit hours at Mason, demonstrates unusual motivation and ability in the pursuit of education, and contributes to the greater good of George Mason and/or the community at large.

Days before she was to begin classes for her master’s program, Schleh, who is pursuing an education degree, was diagnosed with a rare eye condition known as Acanthamoeba keratitus. As a result of the disease, she has lost significant vision in her right eye. Schleh’s medical insurance has not covered all her expenses, leaving her with more than $5,000 of debt in the last year related to her illness.

Despite her newfound loss of vision, having to endure continuing painful treatments, and the stress of medical expenses, Schleh has maintained a full graduate course load and a 4.0 GPA. A former journalist, she hopes to teach English and writing at the secondary level after completing her degree.

Abby Byrom
George Mason University Alumni Association Service Scholarship Award

Alumni Association Service Scholarship recipient Abby Byrom with Parker and Arnn. Photo by Laura Sikes

The George Mason University Alumni Association Service Scholarship is awarded annually to a full-time undergraduate or graduate student who demonstrates a commitment to service within the university community while maintaining an exemplary academic record.

Byrom, a junior majoring in music with a concentration in music education, combines her passions for music and teaching at the Hunter’s Woods Saturday School for the Arts, an enrichment program for economically disadvantaged children. In Byrom’s application essay, she describes the joy of watching not only the children express themselves through music, but of the parents’ amazement at what their children accomplish in the program.

Her on-campus leadership includes roles as a student leader in Mason’s Honors Band, an officer in the Mason Chapter of the Kappa Kappa Psi Honorary Band Fraternity, and as a resident advisor. She maintains a 3.88 GPA.

–Corey Jenkins Schaut, MPA ’07


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